The Daily Gamecock

Gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham holds campaign rally on campus

SC Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham speaks to a full room at Russell House.
SC Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham speaks to a full room at Russell House.

The USC College Democrats club hosted gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham's campaign rally on Wednesday. 

The rally was the second stop of Cunningham's ongoing college tour, as he aims to build campaign support in preparation for the upcoming South Carolina gubernatorial election.

Joe Cunningham served a term in 2019 as a congressman for South Carolina's first congressional district. Now, he's running for South Carolina governor as a democratic candidate in 2022. 

"I remember what my dad told me growing up, which was, you go where the need is," Cunningham said. "While I was mulling over how best to serve our community, how best to serve our state, I couldn't ignore all the chaos that was coming out of Columbia." 

Cunningham declared his candidacy in April 2021 for governor of South Carolina. 

Cunningham criticized the prioritization of restrictive abortion legislation and concealed weapons regulations while in the midst of a global pandemic.

"You couldn't make this up," Cunningham said. "That's what they've been, the politicians in Columbia, have been working on." 

Cunningham touched on issues regarding teacher pay, marijuana legalization and bipartisanship while talking to the room of approximately 35 USC students. 

"This is it, and this is y'alls generation, they're gonna write the pages of history in our next chapter," Cunningham said. "I want to share with you all my vision for the future of South Carolina, and how we can make that happen together." 

Fourth-year political science major Savannah Sottak is a member of USC College Democrats and came to hear more about Cunningham's policies surrounding climate change and the legalization of marijuana. 

"His [take on the] legalization of marijuana is, I think, interesting," Sottak said. "I think it's very bold that he talks about it so much."

Fourth-year physical education major Eric Ellison decided to attend the rally last minute after seeing someone wearing a Joe Cunningham sticker. Ellison said that it's important for people to listen, even if they don't agree with what is being said. 

"You've got to have an open mind," Ellison said. "Even if you strongly disagree with somebody, you have to listen to them." 

Ellison admitted that he voted against Cunningham in the last two congressional elections.

When addressing Ellison's question of why Republicans should vote for him, Cunningham emphasized the importance of honesty in politics.

"I think Democrats, Republicans or Independents, they want honest people in government," Cunningham said. "They want people who'll shoot you straight and they want people who will get things done." 

Cunningham also remarked on the recent political polarization of the country under Trump. 

"When President Trump was elected, you know, with him came the divisiveness and the rhetoric and the tone that I knew that we were all so much better than," Cunningham said. 

Cunningham ended his speech by reinforcing the idea that USC students are a part of the generation that will face the consequences of the elections to come. 

"Y'alls generation are gonna be footing the bill for things," Cunningham said. "Y'all got the most skin in the game, and so bring your friends who sit around and b**** about things and complain and say, 'we're tired of this, we're tired of this, this is corrupt.' Ask them if they've voted. Ask them what they're doing to change things." 

The general election for the South Carolina governor will take place on Nov. 8, 2022. The date of the primary election for the South Carolina governor has not yet been determined.